Hi, thank you for inviting me to chat with you. I’m looking forward to releasing new music.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Bigger Things”?
Bigger Things is the first single to come from my soon to be released EP, The Collector. It’s about overcoming the inner voice we all encounter that tells us we’re not good enough, letting the dust settle, taking a breath and trusting that we’re on the right path even when it feels like we’re failing.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
The song came from shared experiences of how easy it is to self-sabotage. The line ‘It’s easier to kick a stone than to keep on building up your home’ was really important for me to include because quitting can seem like the easy option, especially when putting yourself out there leaves you feeling vulnerable. I wanted to acknowledge that and to try to encourage people to take stock of what they’ve already achieved and where they’re heading.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
I knew early on that I wanted to incorporate contemporary dance and to have a dancer represent the inner voice. The lyric ‘Don’t you blow your house right down, because you think its falling now’ inspired the idea of the wolf mask. Red Visuals took the concept and created a really beautiful video at Woolton Manor in Liverpool. No matter which room I’m in, the wolf is there because you can’t lose that inner dialogue. You can only recognise it for what it is and try to change it for the better. It was literally freezing when we filmed though so the breath you can see in the video is real!
The single comes off your forthcoming EP release The Collector – what’s the story behind the title?
The Collector really represents the theme behind the EP. It’s about how we collect ideas about ourselves and events from the past that we need to let go of. It’s so easy to remember a negative comment or still feel like the person we were at school because of our experiences. It also talks about how we’re sold the idea that we are incomplete and imperfect so that we are constantly trying to fix ourselves. I wanted the song to encourage people to show up as they are, and to celebrate who they’ve become.
How was the recording and writing process?
I was very fortunate to be able to record at SMP in Holland. I would send demos of each song to the producer Bert Smorenburg and we developed the arrangements until they were studio ready. The musicians did an incredible job bringing them to life. One of the most memorable studio sessions was working with the live string quartet. That will stay with me.
I did all the writing at home at the piano. It’s a really personal record and it was important for me that it carried a positive message.
Do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating with or covering someone else rather than working on your own original material?
I definitely take a different approach when I’m co-writing. I recently had the privilege of writing with Grammy winners Tom Paxton, Jon Vezner and Don Henry in one room and it was very different to sitting at my piano writing alone. It’s so nice to be creative together and to see how the ideas produce something I would never have come up with alone.
I try to only cover songs that I really connect with and feel I can bring something to, so I try to approach them in the same way as I would my own songs.
What role does Britain play in your music?
I’ve been influenced by a number of British writers so that’s definitely played a role in my career. Also when I started performing I would go to the Wolverton Acoustic Club and play every Sunday. Having that kind of community and space to try new things was invaluable. So many of our smaller venues are closing now and it’s something that needs to be nurtured and invested in.
What aspect of self-belief did you get to explore on this record?
Bigger Things really explores the importance of having faith in ourselves and that we’re part of something bigger. I saw a German proverb that says ‘Fear makes the wolf seem bigger than it is’ and that’s so true. I hope the record as a whole encourages people to be who they are and to embrace what they bring to the table.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
The final song on the record ‘Build Your World’ came from talking to a friend who felt they were too old to become a writer and that they had missed the boat. There’s a wonderful quote by Glennon Melton-Doyle that says ‘You can’t miss your boat. It’s yours. It stays docked till you’re ready. The only boat you can miss is someone else’s.’ I wanted to write a song for anyone who’s afraid to answer that niggling feeling that they should be doing something else. It doesn’t matter what stage in life you’re at, if you can find a way to incorporate something you love into your life then you should go for it.
Any plans to hit the road?
I am really looking forward to playing these songs live and meeting new audiences. I’ll be appearing at Songfest over the summer and then tour dates will follow.
What else is happening next in Martyna Wren’s world?
In a word…Nashville. I’ve had some wonderful invitations for cowrites and showcases so its going to be a very special trip.